Duluth's new Lincoln Park Middle School gets good grades on first glance
If traffic is a good indicator, western Duluth families were ready to see their new school. Cars packed the two parking lots at Lincoln Park Middle School and spilled over onto several neighboring streets Thursday night for an open house and hot ...
If traffic is a good indicator, western Duluth families were ready to see their new school.
Cars packed the two parking lots at Lincoln Park Middle School and spilled over onto several neighboring streets Thursday night for an open house and hot dog grill-out. The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders and their families could check their schedules and see their new $50 million digs for the first time before school starts Monday. The renovated Ordean East -- housed in the former East High School -- also had an open house.
First impressions for many students were about the size of the school, which can hold 1,100 students and sits high on 76 acres in Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood. The school, at 3215 W. Third St., is reached via a new winding road.
It might take some getting used to, but "it's huge and it smells better," said eighth-grader Kaylee Erickson, comparing Lincoln Park to Morgan Park Middle School.
Morgan Park, built in 1916, was a K-12 school, then a junior and senior high and then a middle school. It also saw additions in 1938 and 1964. It closed in June.
The views of the St. Louis River, Duluth harbor and ore docks seen everywhere from the cafeteria and commons area to classrooms and the media center were another favorite.
"I like the view. I really like the view," said eighth-grader Hannah Moeller, who was concerned that students treat the new school well. "I hope they don't destroy it."
Parents were impressed with the newness and Duluth's scenery, but also with the school's new security features. The main entrance passes through the office and all other doors will be locked throughout the day.
"That's definitely a plus," said Barb Wagner, mom to a seventh-grader, who is also happy that the school is closer to home than Morgan Park Middle School.
Eighth-grader Mason McCumber noted the size of both the pool and the gym. Because of that, he was "kind of" excited for school, he said.
"He said he wishes he was in sixth grade again so he could stay here longer because he really liked it," said his mom, Jodi McCumber, who noted that she liked the temperature controls. "Usually for open house we're roasting in the classrooms."
Sixth-grader Marissa Steltz didn't attend Morgan Park, but she liked the new school. But her elder sister, Caylee Steltz, a Denfeld senior, preferred the older school.
"This is too up-to-date," she said. "It seems like college."
Teachers, chatting with families and students in their new classrooms Thursday night, seemed ready to be in the new school.
"I feel very honored to have the opportunity to teach in this building," said Read 180 teacher Maureen Breemeersch. "I don't think my feet have touched the floor just yet."
Studies show academics improve in new buildings, said orchestra teacher Clair Chopp, noting she now has windows in her room.
"Could we have survived at Morgan Park? Yes. But 21st-century technology, upgrades, the flow of students; it's been well-designed," she said. "I really hope the community comes and sees the building, and between all of the new construction, sees what their money has bought because the Red Plan was so controversial. But this was so necessary for the viability of this district."
The parking lots can hold about 300 cars, and probably will never have such overflow as they did Thursday night, said Kerry Leider, property and risk manager for the district. The auditorium can hold 400 people, and for any other large events like Thursday's, the district would make use of shuttles to take the pressure off surrounding neighborhoods.